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Can I Take Gabapentin For Alcohol Withdrawal?

Gabapentin is a medication typically used to mitigate epilepsy seizures, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and post-disease nerve pain. However, research is being done concerning the benefits of using gabapentin to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as severe cravings for heavy drinking.

You can take gabapentin for alcohol withdrawal. Many healthcare providers treat acute alcohol withdrawal by prescribing gabapentin, which can be taken in an outpatient setting.

Gabapentin promotes the release of brain-sedating chemicals, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

These chemicals, such as glutamates, contribute to heightened stress levels and hyperactivity while trying to detox from alcohol abuse.

Some of these chemicals can overpower the brain, which results in seizures. As an anticonvulsant, gabapentin lowers the production of said chemicals, mitigating these effects.

How Gabapentin Is Used For Alcohol Withdrawal

Gabapentin is a pharmacotherapy treatment method that is generally prescribed in an outpatient setting. The use of gabapentin can help in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

It works by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain, preventing the release of certain stress chemicals.

Clinical studies, even double-blind trials where placebos are used, have produced positive results that stand as a testament to the efficacy of gabapentin.

Randomized clinical trials have found these pleasure chemicals, namely dopamine and serotonin, to have sedation-like effects on clients, reducing anxiety and limiting cravings caused by alcohol withdrawal.

Gabapentin can:

  • help stop alcohol cravings
  • lower anxiety levels by reducing receptor activity
  • mitigate the effects of insomnia
  • prevent relapse
  • improve mood

Early Abstinence Treatment

The first stage in the management of alcohol withdrawal is to stop drinking. You can either do this at a rehab center or under the guidance of a detoxification professional.

This is one the hardest stages of treatment, as stopping alcohol consumption cold turkey can produce some of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The early abstinence period is where alcohol dependence triggers severe cravings as well as other potential side effects, such as seizures, raised body temperature, and increased stress.

Gabapentin can help ease many of these withdrawal symptoms.

Relapse Prevention

Managing relapse prevention can be difficult due to the desire to return to alcohol consumption, as well as the social circumstances you find yourself in.

The efficacy of gabapentin is very apparent in this area, as gabapentin treatment can alleviate many of these initial urges.

There are also a number of ways to ensure relapse prevention while mitigating the effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Some of these prevention methods include:

  • developing coping methods
  • strategically placing yourself in social situations where drinking is not an option
  • accessing adjunct therapy and counseling program

Side Effects Of Gabapentin

Like many other drugs, higher doses of gabapentin can lead to addiction. It is recommended that you strictly adhere to the use guidelines in order to prevent high gabapentin tolerability.

Depression

Call your doctor if you begin to have suicidal thoughts. Studies have shown that a small number of people react poorly to gabapentin in as little as one week of treatment.

Dizziness

Dizziness is a common side effect of gabapentin. As the body gets used to gabapentin, these side effects should wear off in less than two weeks.

Weight Gain

Gabapentin can trick the mind into feeling hungrier due to its stimulant nature, but this can be combated by a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a good sleep schedule.

Seizures

Gabapentin has been found to occasionally worsen the symptoms of myoclonic seizures, so double check with your doctor before using this medication.

Treatment Options For Alcohol Use Disorder

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment methods available to help treat alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Some of these treatment methods include:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • psychiatry services
  • telehealth visits and follow-ups
  • intervention services
  • alcohol detoxification

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Written by
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team

©2022 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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